In February the Latvian export was 1.2% lower than one year ago. The closing Russian market was compensated by the African eaters, who are buying up the record grain yield harvested from the fields of Latvia last autumn.
In February the Latvian export to Russia and CIS countries continued precipitation (accordingly – minus 25% and minus 27% in the annual quantities). Sanctions and counter - sanctions, which were widely talked about last year, as well as (and even to a greater extent) weakened ruble with further decline in paying capacity of the Russians found their manifestation in figures of the Latvian statistics.
One year later we will get to know the effect of the demonstrative withdrawal of Russian LUKOIL from Latvia, which in late March resold five tens of its Latvian filling stations to speculative investors from Austria, on the foreign trade.
What have the Latvian exporters gained instead of the Russian market? Export to the Eurozone has grown slightly (+0.3%).
Also the rise in export in the direction of Africa and Middle East –Kenya, Algeria, The United Arab Emirates, Egypt – continued. Though, this is, to a significant extent, attributable to the Latvian grain exporters: export of wheat and rye in February this year grew 3.2 times (by 19.2 million euro) if compared to February 2015.
In turn, the abysmal performance was demonstrated by petroleum products, which export from Latvia in February dropped four times (by 27.1 million euro) than one year before. Somewhat this is due to shear fall in prices of oil and its refinery products, but somewhat – due to the re-orientation of the Russian feedstock from the Latvian railways and ports to the RF railways and ports.
Apart from the grain vendors the moral right to claim bonus is vested in the wood processors (export of plywood, planking etc. has grown by 21%), as well as in the food producers, who have built up export by 26%. More than 10% growth was shown also by export of chemicals.
Also export of metalworking products has grown noticeably (plus 17%), but whereas the government of Latvia and the Ukrainian investors failed to find common ground, which led to temporary shutdown of industrial facilities of the undertaking KVV Liepājas Metalurgs, next year we will see in the column ‘Export of metalworking products’ a figure with a minus sign.
We note that import continues falling even more rapidly than export – by 5% if compared to February last year. But in the case with import the key reason of decreasing remains the effect of falling prices of oil and petroleum products. In terms of goods the import volumes remained at the level of last February.
In general, the foreign trade balance of Latvia appeared traditionally negative — minus 139.5 million euro. Bad that the foreign trade deficit has grown if compared to January (109.8 million euro), but good that it appeared almost twofold lower than in February 2015 (235.8 million euro).